Justice and Advocacy · Personal reflections

Bare Feet on Broken Ground

Archive restoration note: in this post I referred to God as “Infinite One,” but I no longer believe in a higher power or intelligent design. -Cynthia, July 2018

Today when I stepped outside, I felt the words, “Take off your shoes and make this ground holy.”

I grinned and thought, “It’s been so long, Infinite One!”

And then I walked down the road and back, being ever present and creative and mindful of the music and the ground I walked on.

I thought as I walked, perhaps those who go barefoot are more present with the earth, and they feel pain on rough ground, especially paved roads, because the earth is in pain. Then I wondered if we feel the pain of others when we are in pain, when we get close. Shoes protect our feet from getting up close and intimate with the energy of the earth. We shield ourselves from the positive energy we could gain. We also do it to keep the pain out. We don’t want to feel the broken glass we’ve carelessly littered upon her surface, we don’t want to taste the way gravel and tar is too tightly packed for her to breathe.

Perhaps it is the same with each other – when we are in pain, we are feeling the pain of another. We inflict pain because we are in pain. The earth is only communicating what she knows, she’s simply trying to tell us to stop hurting her, but we wrap up our feet and so we can’t hear her cries.

Maybe nothing is silent. It’s just all speaking a different language, and we need to reach out beyond our senses, beyond habit. Ask your intuition what it knows. Feel with your bare feet. Listen to what the earth is telling you.

Anyone who hurts me is in pain. Some of them tell me it’s my fault, when it isn’t. I know they are in pain, and I recognize it, but I do not accept their pain and pass it on. I do the same with the earth. I did not throw that bottle there, I cannot uproot the roads. But I can be there with her, and feel with her, and notice what others do not.

Paying attention is what leads to change. I will not numb myself to her messages.

It only hurts to feel her skin because someone else hardened her surface – like an abused child, she does what she was taught. She doesn’t blame me, she’s sorry, she begs me not to get close because she’s ugly and ruined now – and I say no, Earth, you’re beautiful. I don’t mind the rough surfaces. I want to know you, even with the bruises and brokenness, and I want for you to get better.

So I bare my feet.